Courtney Waterhouse has faced numerous challenges in her life.
The Maple Ridge youth was apprehended from her birth mother when she was only 16-months-old. She was tube fed through her stomach because as a baby she just wasn’t thriving. Waterhouse was put into foster care. She has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and has had to deal with issues of anxiety and depression her whole life. She has also battled an eating disorder that started when she was in Grade 5.
“Elementary school was really hard for me. I wouldn’t eat a lot of the times and I had a student education assistant trying to help me eat,” said Waterhouse.
“In high school it got a little bit tougher. Grade 8 I was okay but I was definitely hyper. Grade 10 it got to the point where I struggled and I stopped caring about myself, I became depressed and had a lot of anxiety and was always in trouble,” Waterhouse continued.
When she was in Grade 10 the 4’11” student weighed only 67 pounds.
“I’ve always been coping with (the eating disorder). (My weight) always just goes up and down with me and I’m constantly eating trying to get (my weight) up,” she explained saying that it added to her anxiety and to this day she does not like stepping on a scale.
At the end of Grade 10 she entered a religious program for youth where she came to the realization that she needed to change her behaviour.
“That’s when I realized I was doing wrong with my life,” said Waterhouse.
She turned her life around, getting A’s and B’s in Grade 11 and getting on the honour roll in Grade 12.
Now Waterhouse has received a Youth Get It Education Award worth $2,500 through the Coast Capital Savings to put towards her future education.
The awards are handed out annually to 60 outstanding students across the province who have faced exceptional hardships while succeeding in school. The money is to go to furthering their post-secondary education.
Since the program started in 2004, $1.9 million has gone to helping 746 students achieve their post-secondary goals. This year $152,500 was awarded in communities throughout B.C.
Waterhouse is upgrading right now but plans to use the money to complete the Therapeutic Recreation program at Douglas College.
She sees herself working at a seniors home or at a child development centre.
For three years she has volunteered at the North Fraser Therapeutic Riding Association helping children with special needs.
She enjoys helping people regain confidence in themselves and maintain a positive outlook in life.
Ultimately, though, she just wants to give back to her community.
For more information go to coastcapitalsavings.com.